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Cardiovascular Disease

Undestanding and Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases

20. Diet after a heart attack

Should I be doing anything about what I eat?

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21. Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the body’s demands for energy are not supplied properly because of a weakness in the heart itself. Heart failure from damage to the heart muscle is common and, at present, 0.3% of the most developed countries of EU population are affected each year.

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22. Heart Failure - Causes

Are the causes of heart failure known?

Heart failure usually occurs because of a weakness of the heart muscle. The heart then doesn’t pump as strongly as it should.

The most common cause of damage to the muscle is a heart attack but it can also be due to:

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23. Heart Failure Symptoms

What are the symptoms of heart failure?

When your heart does not pump enough blood around the body, fluid builds up because there is not enough energy to push the fluid through the kidneys into your bladder. The medical word for a build-up of fluid is oedema (pronounced ‘ee-dee-ma’). If the fluid builds up in your lungs, you become breathless, with a wheeze or a cough, and you may produce frothy sputum. If the fluid builds up around your ankles, they will swell up and you will be able to see indentations from your shoes or socks or from pressing your skin with a finger (be careful, it can be painful).

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24. Heart Failure - Tests

It is important to know the cause of heart failure because, if it is mechanical (such as a leaking valve), you will need a mechanical solution (a new valve). If it is heart muscle failure, you will need tablets.

A high blood pressure will need urgent treatment. Investi gations sort this out. Usually you will have an ECG, a chest X-ray, blood tests and an echocardiogram.

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